If you are facing criminal charges for assault or battery, it is important that you seek legal counsel as soon as possible. As with any crime, a conviction can mean not only embarrassment and inconvenience but also possible jail time, fines, and other penalties. While it is not always possible to avoid criminal prosecution, there are many instances in which charges may be reduced or a plea bargain entered that is more favorable to the defendant than a sentence following a guilty verdict at trial. Having a capable San Bernardino or Riverside County assault defense lawyer in your corner is important when your freedom is at stake. At The Law Office of Gregory H.Comings, we handle a wide range of cases involving violent crimes, such as domestic violence and other forms of assault and battery.
If you have been accused of both assault and battery, you may actually be charged with two separate crimes. This is because the crime of assault is separate and distinct from the crime of battery. In very general terms, assault involves a threat, while battery involves an actual touching. While this is a bit of an oversimplification, it does help explain the basic difference between these two criminal offenses. Under California law, an assault is defined as an attempt to use force or violence on another person. Battery, by contrast, occurs when the offender actually uses force or violence on someone else.
There are different degrees of both battery and assault, with different punishments possible depending upon the circumstances of the alleged crime. An assault defense attorney can help Riverside and San Bernardino County residents understand the specific penalties that they may face. The most ordinary form of battery is “simple battery.” Someone can be accused of this crime even if the “victim” did not suffer any injuries – or even any pain. All that is necessary is for the defendant to touch the victim in an offensive way. A more severe form of battery is known as “battery causing serious bodily injury.” Crimes that involve more serious types of injuries are punished more harshly, including by up to four years in the state penitentiary.
There are several possible defenses to a charge of assault or battery, including self-defense or defense of another person. If the defendant did not act willfully, this can also be a valid argument that a San Bernardino or Riverside County assault defense attorney can raise, such as in a situation in which someone else shoves the defendant forward into a crowd, causing the defendant to make unwelcome contact with the alleged victim. The circumstances of a police investigation or the defendant’s arrest may also provide a possible constitutional defense, especially if a search and seizure is involved or if the defendant spoke to police without being advised of his or her right to remain silent. An experienced attorney can assist the defendant in asking the trial court to exclude certain evidence that was unconstitutionally obtained.